Archive for May, 2010

Eurovision Post-Mortem

May 31st, 2010

This year’s UK Eurovision entry was so forgettable that I have — less than 48 hours later — entirely forgotten it. It was sung by someone called Josh — I remember that bit — but I couldn’t tell you what it was called, or anything at all about how it went.


May 27th, 2010

The Virtual Stoa, nine years old today.

Liberalism, Once Upon A Time

May 24th, 2010

The 1937 Buxton Liberal Party Assembly:

This Assembly of the Liberal Party, indignantly aware of the grossly unequal distribution of property in this country, believes that the greatest possible measure of personal ownership, with the independence and security it brings ought to be enjoyed by all. It also believes that the opportunities for a full life hitherto open only to the rich should be placed before all. It recognises these twin ends as the inspiration of its domestic policy and pledges its whole strength in urging them on the nation in far-reaching reforms to achieve them.

The 1959 Liberal Party Manifesto:

People Count . . . This traditionally private-enterprise country must pull together to bring about ownership for all.

Liberals want co-ownership and co-partnership schemes encouraged through tax-reliefs. They want special tax-free employee savings accounts schemes brought in. They want more people to be able to buy their own homes. Schedule A income tax and Stamp duty must be abolished. To encourage mobility of labour, Liberals want temporary unemployment allowances increased.

The February 1974 Liberal Party Manifesto:

To finance all these proposals, there must be a radical redistribution of income and inherited wealth, the credit income tax proposals being the principal instrument for the former, and the Liberal proposal for a Gifts and Inheritance Tax, to replace Estate Duty and related in its incidence and rate to the gift or legacy and the wealth of the recipient, for the latter.

Child Trust Fund, RIP

May 24th, 2010

Stuart White on the abolition of the CTF, over at Next Left: “a great liberal policy killed by the Liberal Democrats”.

Question about Andy Burnham

May 23rd, 2010

Is there anything interesting to say about Andy Burnham, or anything to report that reflects well on him? He’s one of those people who has largely flown under my radar. I remember seeing him on telly a few years ago, when he was reasonably new in some not insignificant job or other, and being underwhelmed, but since I don’t really get my political news from the TV, and I don’t follow the minutiae of Government policy, he’s basically passed me by this last parliamentary term or so. So: any Andy Burnham-related thoughts and observations would be more than more than welcome.

UPDATE [25.5.10]: Jamie K has more.

Question about Cupcakes

May 23rd, 2010

Is it my imagination, or are there a lot more cupcakes around than there used to be?

Spam Interlude Over?

May 23rd, 2010

Thanks to everyone who alerted me to a spam infestation at the Virtual Stoa, which was showing up in Google stuff — the search engine, its cache and in the Google Reader thingummy.

The exhortations to buy Vicodin and Cialis and the like were probably more stimulating than the actual content they replaced; nevertheless, in the interests of restoring the usual service, I’ve delved deep into the bowels of the WordPress installation, zapped a few lines of extremely dubious-looking code, killed a few files that popped up in the plug-ins folder that really oughtn’t to be there, wiped from the memory banks a couple of unauthorized users and, finally, changed the passwords. It was all quite a lot easier than I’d anticipated — I get a bit nervous in the face of MySQL databases. And so, with luck, that hack’s been dealt with.

But, just in case anything does recur, please could my vigilant readers report any further unusual sightings: I don’t use Google Reader (I’m a Bloglines man myself), so I don’t tend to notice it when my readers all drift off in search of new opportunities to purchase these valuable drugs.